Uncle Tom's Cabin Antithesis

Superior Essays
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe is a novel that was written as a call to action to its readers against slavery in the United States. Through many characters, mainly Tom, Stowe illustrates the heart-breaking realities of slavery to her readers. One instrumental way that Stowe did this was through the rhetorical device of antithesis.
Two characters who embody Stowe’s use of antithesis are Tom Loker and Mr. Haley. Haley is described as a “short, thickset man” (3) and Loker as having a body expressive of “brutal and unhesitating violence” (66), emphasizing that Tom Loker is more abusive with his slaves. When discussing how their slaves act, Haley recounts a slave woman who lost her child, saying that she “ketches a knife” when her
…show more content…
Eliza is clearly affectionate toward her son Harry, with her feelings being described as “ entwined with that little life”, demonstrating that Eliza’s entire world revolves around her son (15). In contrast, Marie, not having seen her daughter Eva for an extended period of time, “languidly kissed her” (166). The use of the word “languidly” underscores Marie’s indifference toward her daughter. In contrast, Eliza is a completely selfless mother. While on the run to keep Harry from being sold, Harry expresses his hunger. Eliza gives Harry the only food they have, and when he tries to share, Eliza tells him that she “can’t eat until you are safe!”, even though later she acknowledges that she is in fact “weary and hungry” (14). She willingly deprives herself to make sure her son is as comfortable as possible. Eliza’s strong maternal instinct is contrasted by Marie’s selfish tendencies. When Eva is born, instead of being happy, Marie remarks St. Clare’s fondness of Eva with “petulant jealousy”, and regards St. Clare’s devotion with “suspicion and dislike” (157). Marie is clearly a person who needs all the attention on her, but her need is so extreme that she puts her importance above that of her own daughter. Her jealousy is borne out of a sense of entitlement to all of her husband’s attention. Instead of sharing in St. Clare’s love for Eva, Marie chooses to see her own daughter as competition for her …show more content…
Through the comparison of Mr. Haley and Tom Loker, Stowe suggests that even though Mr. Haley had been previously considered the worst type of slave master, Tom Loker shows there is no limit to the cruelty of slave masters, and slaves are at the mercy of slave masters with different approaches to slave treatment. Through the comparison of Eliza and Marie, two mothers, Stowe dismantles the myth of the Jezebel, which paints black women as bad mothers. Stowe uses a white woman to demonstrate that a white mother can also be a bad mother. Eliza’s commitment to her son makes her the epitome of a good mother. Contrasting the settings of the plantation in Kentucky and the Quaker settlement, Stowe suggests that even one of the northernmost slave states is nothing but a slave state in comparison to a place without slavery, such as the Quaker settlement. A misconception about slavery as it moved up north was that it became less harsh. While this was true, Stowe emphasized that just because Kentucky was less harsh than in other places does not mean that slaves living there had a good life. The Quaker settlement was painted as a benevolent place that brought nothing but relief and comfort to the former slaves. The Quaker settlement was used by Stowe to demonstrate how lovely life can be in a place without slavery and was an attempt by Stowe to demand that the United

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Stowe’s novel concentrated on many hardships slaves had to endure. She wrote the book to be a power against slavery. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most significant American works. Many people in the North did not realize how bad slavery was in the south (Henderson, 2009). In her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Harriet Beecher Stowe uses dialect, symbolism, imagery, tone, and throughout the story to persuade…

    • 709 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe accurately showed her readership her reasoning for advocating for the abolition of slavery by illustrating the heartlessness of slaveowners, the immorality of slavery under Christianity, and the wrongful stereotyping of slaves in this time period. Stowe showed her readers a more intimate view on how horribly slaves were treated by illustrating how rude and absolutley heartless slaveowners could be. In this time period, even some of those who were for abolition of slavery were unable to grasp the magnitude of what slaves went through every day, so it was important for Stowe to write this out in her novel to sort of be a wake-up call for those who were on the fence about abolition.…

    • 838 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Steinbeck reinforces this dislike towards Curley as Curley’s wife is jealous of Lennie because he can “‘talk to people, but [she] can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad’” (Steinbeck 87). Steinbeck relates how Curley’s wife’s ethical choices are impacted by the actions of others in the way Curley disregards his wife, leaving her with the desire to find…

    • 986 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author communicates to the reader that slavery was a very inhumane act by emphasizing the hardships that the slaves faced, the dangers of escape, and by the use of religious imagery and references. Stowe shows that slavery is a very evil act by stating the harsh situations that slaves faced because of it. One example, of a harsh situation would be being separated from their loved ones when they were sold to slave owners. For example, Eliza had Harry, his son taken from her (pg. 12), because of a deal that Mr. Shelby did with Haley (pg.…

    • 1442 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Eva is very close to Mammy and it could be argued that Marie, as a mother, is very jealous of this since she does not share the same emotional bond as Eva and Mammy as evidenced in the scene in which Eva greets Mammy first before anyone else when they arrive at St. Clare’s home as well as through her constant doting on Mammy. Furthermore, Marie exclaims “And just as if Mammy could love her little dirty babies as I love Eva!” (181). One could interpret Mare’s exclamation as her believing that the slaves are an “unfeeling race” as Park states. Park suggests that the “Negroes” have been made to become an “unfeeling race” because they have been stripped of their bonds. However, in the case of Mammy, Park’s suggestion is untrue as Marie’s belief is untrue.…

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    6). Stowe explores the horrors of the thought that blacks were not only thought to be inferior because of race but also because of emotional tolerance. The mindset of many white Southerners was that slaves weren’t anything better than dirt, which Stowe makes clear in the novel. Another mindset of many slave traders was that slaves were there for whites to make a quick buck. An example of this is brought into light when a slave named Aunt Hager commits suicide.…

    • 1116 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Inherit Midnight Analysis

    • 758 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Regardless of Avery's perspective, her relatives are very malign to her because of how their side of how they view her life. Although Avery feels that she is as lonely as a troglodyte, her family sees her as a spoiled child. Since her family feels hatred for her due to their side of the story, they try to keep her from winning the family inheritance competition at all costs. Another example of the family's jealousy would be Avery's Uncle Marshall admitting after losing the competition, "Mother kept talking about you. Every time I was here, it was always about how good you were" (Myers 371).…

    • 758 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Stowe creates Tom’s physical image as one that fits society’s image of a southern slave, but she shows the flaws in this stereotype by Tom’s heart and soul being consumed by love and God’s grace. Although Baldwin picks out the moral flaws of Stowe’s novel and her characters, he also explains her need to write them in a way that can depict society. Stowe’s novel is morally flawed with stereotypes because that is what society knows and understands. Baldwin’s essay is titled “Everybody’s Protest Novel” which implies that Baldwin believes that the problems with Uncle Tom’s Cabin are a direct reflection of the problems in all social…

    • 986 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, during the era of slavery, there exit pro-slavery advocates that argues that the American slavery system was not inherently wrong. It was only due to Douglass misfortune to have been in the hands of cruel and incompetent owners. That the majority of slaves are happy and appreciative of their master. However, I would argue that this is false, all slave owners no matter how nice and caring will eventually become demons that forget their humanity because the American slavery system corrodes the morality of all involve. This transformation is most apparent in Mrs. Auld, the wife of Mr. Auld master to Douglass at one point in his life.…

    • 1481 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Reading analysis of Clotel or the President's daughter places the topic of the historical setting of slavery where white men would clover slave or black women and slave women would ironically indulge themselves in their white oppressor. The characters of the story each stand for an actual platform during slavery. For example, the character Mrs. Green's hatred towards Mary, Clotel's daughter, even after selling her mother back into slavery shows how white women expressed their disdain towards black women. White women were opposed to slave women and even more disgusted at the fact they were sought after by white men. Though his writing is fictional it does offer the modern-day reader actual insight to past slavery.…

    • 812 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays